Condemn the arrest and detention of rights activists by Manipur state government

September 22, 2014

COORDINATION OF DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS ORGANISATION (CDRO)

Press Release

16th September 2014

Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisation (CDRO) strongly condemns the arrest and detention of rights activists in Manipur by the Manipur state government since 8 September 2014.

On 8 September, the Manipur police, apart from vandalizing the office of the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS), picked up 12 rights activist in retaliation against an untoward incident of altercation between students’ wing of JCILPS and Mr. Yengkhom Devson, brother of Additional SP Mrs. Y. Victoria. Mr. Devson was summoned in the office for his reported alleged misbehavior against the members of JCILPS in his office. He was reportedly beaten by the activist of the JCILPS after he allegedly misbehaved using harsh words to the activists. The Additional SP Victoria rushed to the JCILPS office to rescue her brother. Instead of controlling the situation, she, by misusing her official power to avenge the beating of her brother, with a team of Manipur police commando vandalized the office and arrested 12 rights activists, who were convened in the office for a discussion on the issues to be presented before the Manipur government on a proposed talk on the ILPS which was scheduled for the following day. They were being slapped with several sections of the IPC including 368/326/384/34 (common cause/wrongful concealment/voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapon/extortion). Neither warrant nor arrest memo was issued for the arrest of the rights activists. Highly irresponsible action of the Manipur police had derailed the possibility of bringing a democratic solution on the present crisis of Inner Line Permit System.

The possibility of dialogue was further aggravated by the continuous repression and crackdown on rights activists by the Manipur government. All the schools, colleges and educational institutions were shut down for a week by government as a measure to prevent the students from protesting against the illegal detention. On 11 September, Manipur police arrested 5 activists and charged them under IPC sections 457 (lurking at house, trespass to commit offence), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house), 427/34 IPC and 149/120-B IPC. They were also charged of being involved in the arson of SDC and PHC buildings located at Bashikhong. The Manipur police continue to conduct raids and search operations to arrest rights activists. 20 more activists were arrested on 12 September including elderly women and students. CDRO strongly believes that a policy of repression and suppression against rights activist will not bring solution to the present crisis. Rather we demand the state government to stop all activities of repression and suppression of rights activists and create conditions for dialogue.

As AFSPA is withdrawn from the Imphal Municipal Area, normal procedure under the Constitution is applicable in this area. However, the present crackdown against the rights activists blatantly violated both the procedural norms of the state and also infringed upon the terms and conditions laid down by the honorable Supreme Court of India regarding the powers conferred to the Union security forces only in disturbed areas where AFSPA is being enforced. The rationality of the police action clearly indicates that despite lifting AFSPA from the Imphal Municipal Area, there still works a ‘police raj’ under the suzerainty of the Manipur government.

CDRO therefore demands withdrawal of AFSPA and ending of police raj. We demand the Manipur government to stop crackdown against rights activists and initiate a dialogue to bring a solution on the present crisis. We strongly demand release of all the arrest and detention without any condition and to uphold the rule of law.

C. Chandrasekhar (CLC, Andhra Pradesh), Paramjeet Singh (PUDR, Delhi), Parmindar Singh (AFDR, Punjab), Phulendro Konsam (COHR, Manipur) and Tapas Chakraborty (APDR, West Bengal)

(Coordinators of CDRO).

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Constituent Organisations: Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC); Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR, West Bengal); Bandi Mukti Morcha (West Bengal); Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR, Mumbai); Coordination for Human Rights (COHR, Manipur); Human Rights Forum (HRF, Andhra Pradesh); Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (MASS), Assam; Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR); Organisation for Protection of Democratic Rights (OPDR, Andhra Pradesh); Peoples’ Committee for Human Rights (PCHR, Jammu and Kashmir); Peoples Democratic Forum (PDF, Karnataka); Peoples Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL, Chhattisgarh); Peoples Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL, Jharkhand); Peoples Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL, Nagpur); Peoples Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL, Rajasthan); Peoples Union For Democratic Rights (PUDR, Delhi); Peoples Union for Civil Rights (PUCR, Haryana) and Campaign for Peace & Democracy in Manipur (CPDM), Delhi